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‘Govt is not adequately encouraging farming in FCT’

How would you describe pepper farming?When you get the seed, you weed, after two weeks you apply fertiliser and do the second weeding after three…

How would you describe pepper farming?
When you get the seed, you weed, after two weeks you apply fertiliser and do the second weeding after three weeks and spray pesticide. Before the leaves sprout out you weed for the third time, apply fertilisers and spray pesticide again. Supervise it well so those pests do not affect it. It takes four months before you can pluck pepper from the farm.
How do you get the pesticides and fertilisers that you apply?
We buy from the market in Gadabi or Kwali, at times the area council helps as it did last month. The local government provides to the farmers for N2,500, but at the market it goes for N5,000. But it is easier to get from the market. And the government only distributes during rainy season and not always.
What do you do after harvesting it?
After harvesting, you go to Gadabi or Kwaita markets in Kwali Area Council to sell. But I take mine to other states. I take them to Benin in Edo State to sell because it is more profitable there. We give to the intermediary. The intermediary knows how to sell because on most occasions, I do not go with them. He will sell and come with the money. He gets a commission of N200 per bag sold while he sells a bag of pepper for N3,000 or N2,800.
How long have you been doing this business?
I have been doing this business since I was a child. I learn it from my father. He took me to the farm and taught me how to farm, buy, and sell pepper.
How often do you send the pepper to Benin?
If I buy ten bags, I send them in the night, it will get to Benin in the morning around 4 a.m. and it would be kept until 11 a.m. when they would be sold. I send bags of pepper about three times in a week. Sometimes I send about 15 bags. The gain varies because the price is not stable. So it could be difficult to say an amount. Also, during raining season the price is low, but during irrigation time, it is higher.
Why are you not selling the pepper in the FCT?
In FCT, people from Sokoto and Gombe are bringing it. So, it spoils the market for us, indigenes, so that is why we sent it to other states.
How is the government encouraging farmers?
The government in the FCT is not encouraging the farmers because in some northern states, governments help them with pumping machines during irrigation times, and give them loans to be paid gradually.
What do you want government to do?
We need loan to be given to members to facilitate their businesses.
What are the challenges you face in the business?
Bad condition of roads is among problems we face. Some people come from places like Tunga Gule, Tunga Sariki, Tongu and the roads are not good. This situation causes farmers to face high fares of transportation and other charges.

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